The Courageous Women of Persia: The Rise of Tala Raassi
I believe that Persian women carry within them the courage and strength of Iran’s historic heart.
The kind of bravery you hear about in stories and fairy tales — the kind of heroines like Tala Raassi.
I often talk about my roots. And while Afghanistan has been a strong topic for some time → it’s also important for me to talk about my other strong half … the part my proud mother instilled within me.
♥ I am Persian. An Iranian soul that makes me my mother’s daughter. A mother raised in Tehran, Iran’s capitol city.
What I love about Iran is its ancient wisdom and strength. Some of the most courageous women I know have emerged from its land. Although its image is tarnished today, the people of Persia are amongst the first civilizations we know of → making them historically rich.
Tala Raassi is a gem who empowers the world through the strength of the “old” Persia.
Tala Raassi rose above the card she was dealt and made something miraculous happen from her circumstances. When Tala was just 16, she received 40 lashes and was imprisoned for 5 days for wearing a miniskirt. But that is not what she’s known for, instead, she’s known for her courage.
⇨ Named one of the “Most Fearless Women in the World” by Newsweek magazine amongst other publications. Tala has emerged victoriously and we at WtD, had the honor of asking her a few questions in hopes to spread the positive message.
GD: What does courage mean to you?
❝I think courage is having the ability to take chances even if it’s scary and out of your comfort zone. It’s about doing things you have never done before and it’s about bouncing back from difficulties.
GD: What aspired you to raise your voice for women around the world?
❝We live in a beautiful world that is changing everyday. Some for the good and some for the bad. I grew up in Iran post 1979 Revolution and witnessed first hand the lack of freedom women had with all the restrictions imposed on them. And when I moved to the US and was given so many opportunities, I realized that it was unfair for those who don’t get the same possibilities. I wanted to start a line to empower women to follow their dreams like I did and in the process I learned so much and wanted to share my experiences with them in my book Fashion is Freedom.
Tala launched her own company — Tala Raassi Swim. A luxury line that I think has a courageous message as well as elegant designs and memorable style.
GD: What made you decide on the fashion industry?
❝I used to observe women at private hair salons and house parties in Iran. They were always so glamorous behind closed doors and put so much effort in to looking good despite all the restrictions imposed by the government. I would spend hours looking through western fashion magazines and drool about the amazing styles and wondered why women weren’t able to wear them out in public, right where they belonged.
❝Ever since I was a little girl I was fascinated by fashion and wanted to create things. I would cut and sew any material I would find, from my mothers fur coat to my fathers leather chair.
But growing up in Iran women were covered in public and at that time there were no name brand boutiques, only schools that prepared us for traditional careers. So I really didn’t think becoming a fashion designer was an option for me until I moved to the US and realized that I could do whatever I wanted. I didn’t waste any time.
Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.
❝This is one of my all time favorites quotes by Cynthia Kersey and I live by it!
❝When I was younger I would get so inspired by luxury and success and wanted so badly to become successful. I used to measure success by what is it projected to us in todays society. However today I am inspired by brilliant people, travel, great conversations and achieving little things. Because I have come to realize that success is a battle between you and yourself alone. Its about beating your own goals and becoming the best version of yourself everyday.
I believe dreams choose us for a reason. That God would never hand us a card he didn’t believe we could handle. But still → many people don’t have the courage to live out their dreams and this saddens my heart. Regardless of the situation, I strongly believe that — just like Mohammad Ali has said, the will must be stronger.
A will born within. It’s a phenomenal characteristic to witness. I’ve seen it come alive in others. It’s amazing to witness the greatness people are capable of. It comes from a place of passion → This passion is what will light your way. So Keep it lit.